Insurance Agents Warn Of Potential Scams After Moore Tornado

Saturday, March 28th 2015, 10:57 pm
By: News 9

Victims of Wednesday's storms spent the day Saturday cleaning up debris. One area that saw the most damage was the Moore neighborhood surrounding Southgate Elementary School.

With so much work to be done, insurance agents advised victims to thoroughly check any businesses hired for help.

For their first weekend off in months, one Moore couple clearly had plans.

"We have plenty to do in the back and front yard,” said J.T. Ramirez if Moore.

His home was hit by one of Wednesday's tornadoes while he was at the gym. So piece by piece, he worked to replace everything his home lost.

3/25/2015 Related Story: Tornadoes Touch Down As Severe Weather Moves Through OK

"We'll have to have the garage door replaced, the roof replaced, the front door replaced, the window and our fence, so we can get our dogs back," Ramirez said.

Insurance agents like Jessica Max of Moore said residents should be on the lookout for people going door-to-door soliciting work, and be mindful of vendors with out-of-state tags. Those are tell-tale signs for scammers.

"When a vendor asks you to pay upfront be mindful of that it's not uncommon for a vendor to ask for certain percentage like maybe 20 percent, don't ever pay in cash and don't ever pay in full before the work is rendered," said Max, who is an agency owner of Allstate at 123 N. Broadway.

Max said to be wary of agents who encourage you to exaggerate or make false claims, which could lead to insurance fraud.

"You should be taking pictures and keeping all receipts before you make any repairs," Max said.

Many people were out for hours Saturday cleaning. Volunteers wasted no time lending a helping hand.

It was the couple's first day with electricity on. After days staying with relatives they were ready to be back in their own bed.

“I think we're actually ready to come home we can deal with what's going on at least, we were all in shock at first,” said Chelsie Gomme, storm victim.

Other tips for tornado victims:

  • When hiring help for repairs, you'll want to get written estimates from several companies.
  • Avoid doing business without a written contract.
  • Work with local vendors so if there's a problem you know where they are
  • Check with family and friends for referrals.
  • Make sure you check a company's rating with the Better Business Bureau.